This month we begin celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15th which also begins Mexico’s Independence Day Celebrations (September 16th - Fiestas Patrias). At the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, we promote year-round our state’s changing demographics (more than 37% of Pima County is Hispanic today) and the purchasing power (more than $10 billion a year) of Hispanics in the Tucson region. This year, however, the celebration is bittersweet. We are concerned about relations with our largest trading partner, Mexico and disappointed with the Administration’s recent action eliminating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) program.
Our chamber has been very engaged in national issues facing our community and our businesses over the last six months. Many of you may have heard me speak about the role of trade in Arizona’s economy and our support for a modernized NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Mexico’s is Arizona’s number one trading partner and our bi-national relationship is vitally important to the economic future of our state.
During this national debate on trade, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at the U.S Mexico Border Conference on the role of NAFTA in Arizona, and most recently in Guanajuato, Mexico (a central state near Mexico City) to a joint state legislative meeting. We also communicate regularly with our business partners in Mexicali, Cananea and throughout Sonora.
A recent trip to Mexico was historic in nature… I traveled with 26 Arizona State Legislators (18 of them were Republican) to Mexico City and Guanajuato. The trip was led by our State’s International and Local committee chairman Representative Tony Rivero and co-chaired by Representative Rosanna Galbadon. Together, with the business community in attendance, we were told that our delegation was the largest from one state to Mexico City. This was a strong message of bi-partisan support of trade during a time when NAFTA negotiations between the U.S, Mexico and Canada were beginning. Ironically, we traveled on the same day that President Trump visited Phoenix. The Mexican media followed our trip with interest and requested opinion statements from our legislators on trade, immigration and the Administration’s actions. Our chamber members in Arizona and in Mexico are concerned about the ongoing dialogue between our two nations about the perceived value of our economic relationship and realize that $17 billion dollars in bilateral trade with Mexico is at risk. I reassure them that in Arizona, we highly value the relationships, be them family, business or economic and applaud the focus by Governor Doug Ducey, Senator Flake and Senator McCain.
In celebrating our Hispanic Heritage in Arizona, we must embrace our binational relationship. By 2035, the U.S Census estimates that Arizona will be a majority Hispanic (with a majority Mexican-American). The Hispanic community in Arizona is our future workforce and is starting businesses faster than the general population. Our heritage includes our deep ties to Mexico and our entrepreneurial tendencies.
Learn more about the economic impact of our Hispanic community in Southern Arizona at our Southern Arizona Hispanic Market Outlook luncheon on September 28th. Register today at www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org.
Welcome to the Tucson Hispanic Chamber Blog Page.
Our goal is to help member companies grow and prosper. We work to achieve this goal by advocating a pro-business agenda in Tucson and connecting members with business leaders and policy makers. How? With Networking & educational events, and online initiatives — like this blog.